tv The Journal Editorial Report FOX News January 12, 2014 12:00pm-12:31pm PST
this week, editorial report. 50 years after lyndon johnson declared war on poverty, president obama says poverty is still winning. and he is pushing forward with more government solutions. is there a better way? some prominent conservatives are weighing in. plus, former defense secretary robert gates making some waves with his new memoir. what it tells us about the president and his foreign policy. and new jersey governor chris christie at the center of a political scandal. are his 2016 presidential ambitions at risk? welcome to the journal editorial
report. president obama marked the 50th anniversary of lyndon johnson's war on poverty this week declaring there is more work to be done. using the occasion to push a domestic agenda that includes an extension of long term jobless benefits, a minimum wage increase and a new government initiative to create economic promise zones. some prominent conservatives are coming out with anti-poverty plans of their own. and pushing back on the president's government approach. >> the current government programs that are designed to address poverty, they help alleviate some of the pain of poverty but they do not help people emerge from it. they do not help people rise above it. we have to deal with that. with opportunity in equality. not just income and equality. the president has the wrong focus. >> joining the panel this week, "wall street journal" political diary editor, assistant editorial page editor james freeman and washington columnist. let's talk about the democratic agenda and their focus on income
inequality of they're the people driving this as part of the election year campaign theme. why now? >> well, a couple reasons. i think obviously the obamacare rollout has been such a disaster. it is what everyone is talking about. it has been driving down the president's approval rating so they want to change the subject. secondly this is sort of an evergreen for the left. income and equality, class warfare issues. they think it works for them. i think this is an effort they're comfortable discussing in an election year. they think it will resonate with peel in the economy. >> here's one of the downsides. they've been in charge for five years. real median family income, household income is down since the recovery began. doesn't this bring attention -- >> yes. it does bring attention to an issue they've dawn particularly good job of covering. i think there are some land mines frankly in here for republica
republicans wading in. on this issue of traditionally republicans are focused on growth and economic opportunity. this would have them talking. we heard rubio talking about his own plan. anti-poverty plan. all that ryne, another congressman has been out there talking about anti-poverty. i think republicans and conservatives should be wary of playing this game on the left's terms. to the extent that it gets them off message of economic growth and spreading opportunity for people. i think it could do some harm. >> what about a critique of the 50 years of war and poverty? $20 trillion? we have spent. poverty right now is roughly the same as it was. only a little bit better. 15%. >> that's right. not much better. >> obviously the definition of poverty has come up a bit. but basically the $21 trillion investment hasn't really moved the needle on poverty rates. for republicans, they understand
the answer is growth economics, the answer is creating more jobs as opposed to government handouts. whittle gets into the details they seem to have trouble right now advocating a real free market agenda. we heard marco rubio give a speech about free market principles but he concluded it tweaks to existing federal programs. so along with lauding the free market, they have to say how will we get more of it. >> let me see if you agree with our two skeptics here about whether or not the republicans ought to be treading on this turf. >> they have to tread on this turf. yeah, they want to talk about obamacare and they will talk about obamacare. but president obama is forcing this debate. he wants this year to be about his inequality agenda and we know what happens when republicans do not have an answer for that. look at mitt romney in 2012. so it is good news that you have a newer and younger generation of republicans who are coming out. and i disagree. i think the fees are innovative
ideas. what you are seeing, republicans acknowledging, yes, we need some sort of safety net for some of these programs. some of the ideas are great. returning to the states, control over how you administer a lot of these programs allowing for a lot more innovation. getting rid of some terrible things like the earned income tax credit. these are not tweaks. these are important changes. and they're overdue coming from the republican party. >> i would say an economic, excuse me, education reform as a tool of economic upward mobility is crucial. so take on kim's argument. i'm all for that and i'm all for republicans and conservatives discussing that. the problem with debating income inequality with the left is their definition of equality. they're talking about outcomes and they're talking about quotas and set asides and numerical outcomes and proportionate numbers of women's and blacks and hispanics in other positions rising to certain levels. that is not about equality.
when republicans talk about equality they talk about equal opportunity. >> what's wrong with that? >> is not that the way to counter the argument by focusing on equal opportunity? and upward mobility. the opportunity to move up and stay up. >> how do you get that? it is not by turning the earned income tax credit into another time of federal benefit. it is not by taking the restraints off welfare reform and continuing to dole the money out. it is by having lower taxes and less regulation. republicans feel like that's an old message for them. they need something new. >> with politicians, it is to describe it in a new way. they know that's the right answer. >> look, a lot of people want republicans to go out and say get rid of all these programs. and by the way, that was the approach a lot of them had prior to the 1990s welfare reform. it was the decision finally to go out and work with the other side. push them, pressure them to actually have to reform the
program that finally allowed for some major progress in that area. i think that's what you're seeing republicans doing. not saying get rid of these programs but figure out a way to make them operate much better. >> all right. very good debate. we'll have more on this in future shows. when we come back, the former defense secretary robert gates offering a rare glimpse inside the obama white house. what his memoir tells us about the president, his administration and its foreign policy. i'm an idaho potato farmer. and our giant idaho potato truck is still missing. so my dog and i we're going to go find it. it's out there somewhere spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what? what are you guys doing?
well, a memoir by robert gates is making big news ahead of its . a memoir is making big news. claiming the president obama and then secretary of state hillary clinton admitted to each other that their on that significant to the 2007 iraq troop surge had been political. that the president did not believe in his own afghanistan war strategy. that he is focused instead on
getting out. gates also writes that vice president joe biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades. we're back with kim, "wall street journal" columnist mary anastasia o'grady and matt comiskey also joined the panel. mary, what are you learning from the excerpts in the book so far and the memoir that we didn't know? >> i think we knew or we suspected that the president had a very, looked at war in a very political way. made his decisions driven by politics. i think what comes across more clearly is how much the war was micromanaged out of the white house and how much the white house resented the idea that the generals wanted to do the surge and were the ones who put together the idea of the surge and that they had to accept it.
that's not the path that they wanted to go down. >> yet gates also writes that obama made all the right decisions on afghanistan even if he didn't believe in those decisions. how do you mesh those two? >> a conflicted memoir. also critical of george bush for not focusing enough on afghanistan. focusing on iraq. he pointed out in a section about bush that during his time with george bush, yes, that's right. not once the domestic considerations weigh in on issues of war and peace. that's actually the big difference. >> did obama's lack of confidence in his own strategy in afghanistan, has that ended up undermining the success, relative success of the troop surge and where we are now as we begin to leave? >> for sure. that's what he is saying. he makes the point that he's always treated nicely by
everyone. >> gates was? >> yeah. >> but he says he couldn't get anything done. and i think as you read through his complaints, what you see is really just a lack of leadership on the part of the commander-in-chief. >> i think the big telling point. the part about afghanistan was that he supported the troops but he didn't support his own strategy. he announced the surge in 2009. then against the advice of robert gates and david petraeus. the military commander at the time. he put a deadline on our withdrawal. he undermined his own war effort and undermined the troops that he was sending into afghanistan. >> what about this issue of the, he talks about where hillary clinton and president obama both acknowledged in a meeting that they had, their opposition to the iraq surge in 2007 had been political. i think we more or less knew that, too, although to see it phrased like that and acknowledged is nonetheless telling confirmation of detail.
but what about the impact of that potentially on hillary clinton going into 2016? any fallout. >> in i think it is a real problem for her credibility. especially given some of her behavior during the primary election when she was running against obama oh. she wanted to be more hawkish but we know it was driven as much by politics as they were driving his position. so this does put her in a more awkward position should she decide to run coupled with her not very exciting tenureship as secretary of state. >> what does this tell you about her? >> about her? >> yeah. >> i think we knew in her time in the administration, she was very calculating and always looking ahead to a potential run. and that everything is politics with this crowd. unfortunately. the worrying thing about the gates book is that we still have three more years with this president with a lot of foreign
policy fires out there and there is no indication president obama has actually learned or grown as a commander-in-chief. if you look at the gates account of just the first two years and see what's happening now in the world. >> it is not only a problem with the president. it is a problem with congress also. i think what you have here really is a war time secretary of defense giving, basically an outpouring of grief about the way that washington treats the military. these aren't little green army men that they're sort of moving around. and he feels like they're playing video game or something. these are real people and it kept him up at night. >> thank you. when we come back, he has been billed as the gop's best hope in 2016. now a political scandal is putting new jersey governor chris christie's reputation as a straight shooter to the test. could bridge gate bring an end to his presidential ambitions? >> i'm sick over this.
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expectations that we've created over the last four years for the type of excellence in government that they should expect from this office. >> an apology from garden state governor and potential 2016 republican presidential candidate chris christie this week. after it was reveal the top aides intentionally caused traffic grid lock on the new jersey side of the george washington bridge last september as political payback for a mayor who fail to endorse the governor for reelection. christie who deny any knowledge of the scheme fired deputy chief of staff bridget kelly after e-mails exposed her role in it. we're back. so kim, did that press conference performance save the governor's potential run in 2016? >> you know, this was about as textbook as it gets on how to handle a political crisis. he gathered information quickly, he went out there, he apologized
profusely, he, heads rolled. he fired people and then he shut the door on this. and this is what you need to do. now, the only thing that could really hurt christie going forward is if there is some information that he did know. especially given how vehement he was at that press conference that he had no knowledge of what was going on. in terms of handling the immediate crisis, he did. and i don't necessarily think absent further information, that this could hurt his run in 2016. >> do you agree, jason? >> ronald reagan used to say personnel is policy. and i think what christie has done is given his critics a big instrument to bludgeon him with. >> despite the performance. >> the question of his judgment of character. his surrounding himself with people capable of pulling stunts like that. that said, that was a press conference. he took responsibility for what happened.
i think as kim said, he couldn't have done much better then a did in that press conference. i think what he has going for him is that there is enough time between now and 2016 barring any further information coming out, showing that he was not telling the truthful there is enough time for i think voters to forgive him and for him to make up for this. >> what about the question of whether he took this issue seriously enough? he dismissed it for weeks. said there was nothing to it. a question of yes didn't dig into it at a deeper level earlier? instead took the word of his aides. is that an ongoing problem? >> being out there with the orange cones, stopping traffic. i think that actually probably speaks toward credibility here. one of the points he made in the press conference this week was i never would have joked about stopping the traffic if i knew that my people were actually involved. and in that way, i think why he seem credible, we'll learn in
the coming days whether or not he was telling the truthful it was not at all clintonian. these were unhedged, unqualified denials. they weren't carefully crafted lawyerly statements. and he spent a lot of time answering questions. i think he did man up. probably talked a little too much about his feelings. you know. >> you dough like a government saying -- >> are you going to apologize? i think the victims were the ones in the traffic jams. i think we need to keep this in perspective. the irs has really lowered the bar on behavior by government officials here. but as we look at scandals -- >> accountability for that scandal. who has taken responsibility for it so far. just some irs commissioner who retired under pressure and lois lerner who resigned with a pension. >> here we are eight months
later and you have congress and private litigants urging, prodding, begging the fbi and justice to really go after this thing. it is kind of appalling. but they're right on the bridge story. the u.s. attorney is already investigating it. if only they had shown this kind of enthusiasm for the irs targeting. >> are there any lessons here we can take away about governor christie's management style? is there possibly a culture of payback? a thin skinned attitude on his staff? you cross us, we'll go after you. is that the message you want to take to a campaign in 2016? >> look, new jersey is a rough place to play politics. one of the things we haven't mentioned here. does it really surprise anybody that this ham in new jersey? and there are probably members of his staff that come out of that new jersey political environment and do have that approach. i think what voters are going to look at is his argument, as he straight shooter and he handles problems when they come up. that's what he tried to do and
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time now for our hits and misses of the week. jason. >> this this is a miss to t house for their nominee to head the justice department civil rights division. a gentleman, a former naacp lawyer who represented a notorious cop killer who the left loves. helped him get off death row. and i think if there is anything more disturbing than what obama is doing to our system, it is these people who seem to care nothing about terrible the country apart along racial lines. >> this is a hit for the french. >> hear, hear. >> the regulator for broadcast television has ruled that miley cyrus' video and britney spears'
latest video should be banned from french television until after 10:00 p.m. in the evening. so that's a thumbs up for the french. >> the discerning taste of the french come through again. matt? >> there were raised eyebrows and some stick where's jay carney came back with a beard. three cheers for president obama's spokesman. what man likes to shave? >> matt lauer, too. >> this is part of a larger trenl. beards started in brooklyn with the hipsters but it shows any kind of counter cultural movement goes main stream. it proves the age old rule that if you wait long enough, fashions will come back. somewhere they are smiling. and remember, if you have your own hit or miss, please send it to us. be sure to follow us on twitter
at j.e.r. that's it for this week's show. thank you to my panel. hope to see you right here next week. welcome to america's news headquarters. stunning new revelations from form he defense secretary robert gates about his time in the obama administration. in his new book, duty, gates raises serious concerns about president obama's war leadership while defending his memoir as a, quote, honest account. molly has more. >> reporter: secretary gates explains more today on his insights into the behind the scenes infighting in the obama administration about the surge of troops into